Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
Thank you for having me here today, Susanne J It’s been a while since I’ve walked the boards. I think my last acting role was as Delilah way back in the ‘80s! Oh I’d love to see the photos of that!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
I love rural Australia and am often inspired by small towns and the people that live there. There is so much history in this land of ours, so many interesting stories and characters to draw from. I’m drawn to the Perth Hills and the peacefulness of the trees. Taming the Tiger’s inspiration for instance, came from Araleun Botanical Park built in 1929 by businessman, J J Simons as a holiday camp for the Young Australia League. I’ve spent countless hours there over the years, reading each little plaque, imagining what it was like to create those gorgeous stone pathways and structures by hand. How much fun the youth would have had in the pool (which is now clogged with water weeds and provides a beautiful backdrop for weddings and family picnics).
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
I remember reading a story about how one of the cabins had fallen to ruin and all that remained was the well-used fireplace. On one of my visits, I spent quite a while examining the crumbling chimney and I thought what a shame it was that the rest of the cabin was gone. All that hard work and history crumbling to dust. That’s when the idea started to take shape to write a story about rebuilding a haven for youth battling through their teenage years but it needed someone feisty to run it…
3. How did you come up with the idea of Taming the Tiger?
It all started with a rundown farmhouse at the end of our street and my love of old Holdens. Taming the Tiger had the working title of Sheila’s Mission back then and Tiffany-Jane was a very wimpy character. (Sorry, TJ, but you were!) Her Holden Gemini, Sheila was the catalyst that brought her and Scott together, except he was Russ not Scott; and that didn’t seem to fit either. The story rambled and was full of holes. One day, I was getting ready for work, doing my make-up in front of the bathroom mirror, when inspiration struck. I realized what I was doing wrong. Tiffany-Jane became technician TJ and the story zoomed ahead. I was very late for work that day J A light bulb moment – aren’t they precious!
4. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be?
Oooh! I’m so glad you asked this question J. You see, each person in TJ’s workshop is assigned a nickname and a theme song when they join the crew (Chapter Two). TJ’s is Helen Reddy’s ‘I am Woman’. 1975 – International Year of Women!
5. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
I was turned down three times before getting a contract for Fly Away Peta with Eternal Press.
6. If you could meet anyone and spend an hour with them alive or dead who and why?
Easy! Hugh Jackman — he’s hot, he’s sexy and he’s the all-round Aussie hero. He can sing, dance and act, and he’s nice guy to boot. His wife is a lucky woman… You won’t get any disagreement from us. Hi Hugh! Looking good!
7. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
Oh gosh! That’s a hard one. Probably The Power of One by Bryce Courtney. It was a very confronting story for me when I read it the first time and I understand more of it every time I read it.
8. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
Dead quiet, a cup of tea, chocolate and a view of my garden
9. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
*Blush* I struggle to write sex scenes, so I challenged myself to overcome that hurdle and test the waters of Erotic Romance. I discovered I had a rather naughty side when I unleashed my alter ego… (*winks*) Can’t wait to read more!
10. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
My computer recycle bin collapsed under the load J
11. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
Scott Devin — he is your dream man, deliciously sexy, funny, caring, devoted and a pillar of strength in a crisis.
12. What are you working on now?
I’m working on book three, Darkness and Light which features Detective Mark Johnson who appeared in both Fly Away Peta and Taming the Tiger. This is Mark’s story and the case he’s been investigating in those stories now comes to a head.
13. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing?
This might be a bit of a spoiler but because you asked the question about soundtracks earlier, here is the excerpt:
TJ stared out the window as her fingers worried the hem of her shirt. He leaned over and put his hand on hers, effectively stilling them. Warmth shot through her like a lightning bolt, touching places it had no business touching. She jumped at the force of the heat. He withdrew his hand and stared at the road ahead. After a moment, he asked, “So what was the singing about?”
TJ sighed. “Each kid that comes through the program is given a signature tune. Some come through mishaps, others - like Marty’s- are earned through habits. When Marty first started with us, he was given all the dirty jobs to do like emptying bins and cleaning toilets. That’s what all first year apprentices have to do. He became bored quickly and wanted to move on to doing real work. When I handed out the jobs in the mornings, he’d stand in the queue and shout, ‘What about me, TJ? What about me?’ Now every time he says it, we all start singing that song.”
She smiled. Scott swore that every time she did, the sun shone brighter. The boys were right. There was a lot more to TJ than he knew. And he wouldn’t mind finding out. But that was a dangerous game to play. He’d learnt that lesson after his relationship with Serena Snow.
“Helen Reddy’s I am Woman.”
Scott laughed. “It suits you. I’ve heard you roar, Tiger.”
Got to say, I love this scene!
14. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
You ask the best questions! My favourite cocktail is a relic from the ‘70s and ‘80s called a Fluffy Duck:
- 1 nip of white rum eg. bacardi
- 1 nip advocaat
- 1 nip cream
- ice cubes
Put some ice cubes into the bottom of a very large cocktail glass. Top with the rum, advocaat and cream. Fill up the glass with lemonade. When you add the lemonade the drink with froth up; thus the name fluffy duck! Decorate the side of the glass with slices of pineapple, cherry, strawberries, etc. Cheers!
OMG , I remember them from the 80’s! One too many fluffy ducks one night…no wait, it was the Belfast Bomb that flattened me.
Thanks for sharing with us, Juanita! I’m intrigued by several of your ‘secrets’. Now you’re going to have to spill more erotic writing details!
It’s been a pleasure to have you visit today.
Leave a comment to let Juanita know you were here.